Research findings from the Norta Norta Individual Sponsorship Program
The Norta Norta Individual Sponsorship Program (hereafter referred to as Norta Norta) was a one-on-one tuition program which ran from 2009-2012, designed to improve the educational outcomes for Aboriginal students in Years 11 and 12. Read an extended executive summary of the program evaluation.
Norta Norta produced a number of positive findings such as improved HSC results and greater student retention. Staff and students involved in the program also reported increased student engagement, confidence, and timely completion of assessment tasks. We have summarised some of the lessons learnt from Norta Norta about effective tuition that schools may wish to consider when implementing the COVID Intensive Learning Support Program.
Lessons learnt about effective tuition
Feedback from students and stakeholders who participated in Norta Norta indicate that the following elements contributed to successful tuition:
- Timing of tuition – schools needed to co-ordinate both tutor and student availability as well as preferences for tuition timetabling (e.g., during study periods, before school or after-school). Many students indicated that consistent, regular tuition times would have been helpful.
- Designated tutoring location – this was often viewed as a friendly learning hub for students, teachers, staff and tutors, and was also a welcoming space for parents and community members.
- Alignment with student needs – where possible, it was useful to match tutor capabilities with student needs, especially surrounding subject-specific skills.
- High quality learning – most tutors undertook professional learning. Successful tutors were able to set explicit, high expectations and developed positive relationships with teachers and students.
The Norta Norta evaluation also highlighted some enabling factors that led to successful implementation:
- Students indicated that a positive, friendly relationship with their tutor had contributed to their continued participation in the Norta Norta program. Often, positive relationships between tutors and students provided a model for improved relationships across the entire school.
- Staff awareness, whole-school support and leadership support, facilitated planning, monitoring and review of the program.
- Collaboration between teaching staff, support personnel and tutors was essential to the program’s success.
- Cultural awareness among the school community and the school’s capacity to engage with families was an important enabling factor.
- Clearly defined roles and responsibilities of teaching staff, tutors, and students was critical for successful ongoing implementation.
- Communication and promotion of the program using a range of strategies allowed the benefits of the program to become well known.